Angina Pectoris is described as severe chest pain that results from insufficient blood flow to the heart. Angina pectoris may not result in permanent damage to the heart muscle (this may not be true for severe angina pectoris) and may be relieved by rest or the use of nitroglycerin placed under the tongue. This article shares the symptoms, cause, risk factors, diagnosis and treatments associated with this condition.
Symptoms — Signs and symptoms of this heart-related condition may include tightness or pressure in the chest that may radiate to the left shoulder and arm, or possibly the neck and jaw. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing, anxiety, sweating, or pale skin.
Cause — The problem arises due to insufficient blood flow to the heart, which may be due to hardening of the arteries (Arteriosclerosis) or plaqueing of the arteries (Atherosclerosis), or spasm of the arteries. Other causes may include Anemia, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), or other heart diseases.
A person will be at higher risk of developing angina pectoris if they have any of the following risk factors: smoking, obesity; diet high in fat, refined sugar, and salt; lack of physical activity; family history of heart disease or Diabetes Mellitus.
Diagnosis — If there is an observation of the aforementioned symptoms, then an immediate medical evaluation is required. The evaluation may include a physical examination, blood tests, ECG (electrocardiogram), or an angiogram (study of the flow of blood through the vessels).
Treatment — During an attack of angina pectoris, a person should rest and take nitroglycerin under the tongue. This may be enough to eliminate the symptoms. Depending on possible underlying conditions, other treatment such as balloon angioplasty or other surgeries may be recommended, or certain medications (beta-blockers, daily aspirin) may be needed. In most cases, a patient can benefit from a healthy diet and exercise, which should be prescribed by their doctor.
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